Johnkennedy Uzoma, Owerri
The lingering tension surrounding the non-payment of backlog of arrears of pension to pensioners in Imo State, may have simmered down a bit following the offsetting of two of the six months arrears inherited from the previous administration.
Governor Emeka Ihedioha had in a radio broadcast announced the commencement of payment of pension arrears of two months amounting to N2,436,350,774 to the state and local government pensioners.
The payment of arrears of pensions in the state came barely a week after the governor had, at a stakeholders meeting on pensions matters in Owerri assured workers that payment would soon begin.
Ihedioha said that the state government would be spending N1, 218,175,387 for both state and local government pensioners monthly, noting that out of an initial monthly bill of N1, 499,157,895.00 being accrual for 33,541 state and LGA pensioners, presented to the state government as at May 2019, the amount has been trimmed down to N1, 218,175,387 for 24,992 pensioners resulting to savings of N280, 982,508.00 or 18.7 percent per month.
The governor revealed that a total of 8,549 or 25% , of ghost pensioners were discovered in the course of the verification exercise adding that the amount saved represents the amount of state resources that would have gone into the drains without the necessary due diligence.
Governor Ihedioha said huge funds were saved for the state after the process of paying pensioners were reviewed and re examined.
He revealed that his administration inherited six years of pension arrears and discovered inexplicable discrepancies in the total number of pensioners in both the state and 27 local government areas.
He said that in pursuant to the mandate of the state government, the committee undertook the extraction and analysis of 48,481 records comprising 28,658 from the Office of the Head of Service (OHOS) of the state and 19,823 from the Local Government Pension Board and after it had processed the records, the committee finally verified 24,431 pensioners.